by Joel Rich
A 5 towns rabbi recently recounted a question asked of him in the sukka “Do you think that maybe like a jew in the 5 towns not the way God intended it, like we’re supposed to be like they are in Williamsburg or Geulah or something like that”. My comment: it seems to me many MOprax jews deep inside believe this (or why do they feel threatened by “the right”?) Interesting that the questioner seemed focused on religious practices but not the location (chutz laaretz).
I thought for many years about the Rambam and the requirements of knowledge for Sanhedrin. If I recall correctly, there are those who assume that the entire Sanhedrin had to have this knowledge amongst them. In any event, without getting into the discussion of current epistemology, I would just note that given the widespread availability of knowledge, to the extent poskim do not use the opportunity to gain such knowledge, it reduces the public’s confidence in them. For example, I have heard one authority who has said that the British and French withdrew support for Israel after the 1956 sinai campaign, because israel went to war without their knowledge. It’s hard for me, then to accept his authority on political issues
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Halacha Guide To Building A Sukkah Building a sukka is a mitzvah and yeshiva guys should be involved!
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Eating, Drinking, Taking IV & Medications Before and on Yom Kippur Summary of the iyuunim of yom kippur as well as a discussion of related topics such as chinuch, shiurim, medicines, and pregnant and nursing women. Of particular interest to me, is using an IV a midat chassidut for those who can’t fast but not required (me-but what does HKBH want?)
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Rav Schachter – Hilchos Succos 5784 Sukka topics include: mzuza, maamad, rules for schach and walls, rin and not being min haasui. Also covered, sitting/standing for kiddush, 4 minim requirements, status of 4 minim at the kotel (duraita) and contradictions in the mishna brura (different authors, chofetz chaim was general editor).
- Shammai Siskind-Fundamentals of Beit Din The dayan is both an educator and a halachic authority/decisor. Why can’t a convert judge anyone but another convert? Are there exceptions to this rule (eg parties accept the judge?.
- Rabbi Moshe Shulman-KOHELET! The Sphinx of Scriptures (Part 6) The bet hamikdash is representative of gan eden. Theory presented that Shlomo Hamelech made the wrong choice in picking wisdom over life (gan eden).
- Rabbi Shalom Rosner-All About Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galus Basics of yom tov sheini for gap year students in Israel. Covers bnai chul in aretz and vice versa. Unfortunately, ISTM many folks (both bnai chul and aretz) seem to paskin for themselves based on what they want rather than on what HKBH wants of them.
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Gzereh D’Rabah part 1 There are a number of torah mitzvot (eg shofar/lulav) that we don’t do on shabbat because of a rabbinic concern of shema yitlenu (maybe you will carry it to an expert). Why are there other mitzvot that we don’t suspend (eg brit) for shabbat for the same reason?
- Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff-Birchas Kohanim On Yom Tov & Yom Tov That Falls Out On Shabbos History of the practice in chul of not duchening except for yom tov. Logically there should be duchening but …There seems no reason not to duchen on yom tov which falls out on shabbat (maybe don’t say the ribbono shel olams).
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Gzereh D’Rabah part 2 Perhaps the algorithm for when to be concerned for shema yitlena is based on the likelihood of a problem and how bad the result would be? Is the concern one would get distracted or that one would make a fundamental error?
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Hiddur Mitzvah Is the requirement for hiddur duraita or drabbanan? Is it a matter of showing enthusiasm or making an impression (on others)? Is it a general mitzva or an ancillary part of each mitzva? Is it ever makev? Is it more process or object oriented?
- Rabbi Reuven Brand-Holocaust and Halacha Introduction to the halachic system for those unfamiliar with it plus examples of tshuvot during the holocaust.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-From The Rabbi’s Desk – Garbage Pale Lunch on Tzom Gedalya Can a teacher confiscate something “contraband” from a student? If so, can he destroy it? If he can’t destroy it, what responsibility does he have to guard it?
- Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner -Can Emotional Distress Exempt One from Sitting in a Sukkah? Shiur examines sources (primarily in favor) of considering mental anguish as a form of mitztaer patur min hasukka (if the anguish is directly attributable to the sukka)
- Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig–חג הסוכות: לולב, הלל, ארץ ישראל R Rosensweig weaves the themes of the verses related to sukkot (lulav, simcha, assif and sukkot) into a holistic picture of thanksgiving to HKBH.
- Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman-Gzereh D’Rabah part 3 Drinking milk is fine and may even release the holy sparks within it.
- Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Schwartz-Yom Kippur War at 50: Torah Leadership and Lessons – Part 2 – Rav Amital R Amital sought to comfort all (especially his yeshiva’s talmidim and himself) after the yom kippur war. He saw it as part of the redemption process and looked to find spiritual/religious meaning while showing love for all the jewish people.
- Rabbi Shay Schachter-Teshuva: Are Our Lives Filled With Denial and Cognitive Dissonance? Tshuva requires self-awareness and the desire to change as we approach HKBH.
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-סוכות: אתרוג שנשתנה מראהו מחמת משמוש The chatam sofer allows use of an esrog worn down by mitzvah usage based on a parallel to gardumin. It’s more likely a dugma than a direct limud.
- Rabbi Aharon Twerski,Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap,Rabbi Shlomo Francis,-9/30/23 – Shiur 437 – Practical Sukkos and Daled Minim Halachos – Seven Fascinating riddles Discussion of etrog, lulav and sukka – what to look for, what to avoid.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-History of Yeshivot in Eastern Europe – September 4 Discussion of the succession at yeshivat chochmei lublin after the death of R Shapiro. There were a number of outstanding candidates but a rosh yeshiva needs a number of competencies. The final choice was R Fromer. TBC
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff-History of Yeshivot in Eastern Europe – September 11 Discussion of yeshivat chochmei lublin from R fromer’s succession through the holocaust. Also includes discussion of some of the more well-known graduates.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz-Sukkos: Nisuch HaMayim & Galus Yishmael There’s a message in the nisuch hamayim and there are positive and negative interpretations of these 70 nation korbanot (vs hayayin) and the 70 korbanot on sukkot (which represent 70 nations).
Esav is related to the nisuch hayayin and represents banishment of HKBH. yishmael is related to the nisuch hamayim and represents the desecration of distortion of HKBH. The final geula will come from yishmael’s reign.
- Rabbi Moshe Shulman -KOHELET! The Sphinx of Scriptures (Part 7) There are a number of reasons posited as to why we read Kohelet on sukkot including: tempering simcha, balancing ruchniyut and gashmiyut, reliance on HKBH, cyclical nature of life and more.
- Rav Asher Weiss- כפיית אדם לקיים את המצוות Interesting insights into forcing someone to do a mitzvah or not do an aveira – who can do it and what power is it based on?
- Rabbi Ike Sultan -Twenty Minhagim Where We Turn to the Right The construction of the yam shel shlomo is a major source of always going to the right (or counterclockwise) but there may be other considerations (egmap direction, presence of shechina. Applications discussed (eg lulav shaking, hagba).
- Rabbi Asher Weiss-סוכות: לולב היבש ודבר המסור לחכמים In which circumstances do we say masruha lchachamim (where chazal act as legislators v administrators) R Weiss proposes several categories and provides examples.
- Rabbis Shalom Axelrod, Yoni Levin, Efraim Polakoff, Ya’akov Trump, Motti Neuberger, Isaac Rice, Aryeh Lebowitz, Shay Schachter -What Does Shemini Atzeres & Simchas Torah Mean to You? Short divrei torah in preparation for hoshana raba, shmini atzeret and simchat tora.
- Rabbi Shraga Kallus-Hoshana Rabba at Yishvat Kotel: Torah Riddles With a Twist Exactly as advertised – various and sundry tora topic riddles (with answers).
- Rabbi Ephraim Wiesenberg-Dancing on Simchas Torah: Obligation or Prohibition? The Talmud seems to clearly ban dancing/clapping on shabbat (shema yitakein) so why does everyone do it? Answers range from the broad (the gzeira doesn’t apply anymore) to the narrow (not real dancing, allowed for a mitzva …).
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